At this point in the year, there’s little the separate the teams. A few wins here, a few losses over there, but they really mean little without context.
The problem is that it’s virtually impossible to provide that context at this point in the year. We think (and Sagarin agrees) that Tennessee State has played a brutal schedule leading into last night, but if BYU or South Dakota State collapse in December, our opinion changes. Same with Belmont’s win a few nights ago over Stanford, and Murray State’s loss the same night to Colorado. We can call it a “good win” now, but in when the selection committee is looking at a their selection sheets, it might not be the same.
But most of that is uncontrollable. As much as we talk about things like strength of schedule, and “bad losses,” simple fact is this: winning makes all that irrelevant. Those numbers only matter when you lose, that’s when you lose control, and start over analyzing stats.
It’s harsh, I know, say those things. And while this is “amateur” basketball at the collegiate level, every player is playing to win. A win is a win, and a loss is just that as well. We, myself included, have to stop trying to “value” wins and losses in November.
Because no one knows what’s between now and March.
Three Point Shot
- Robert Covington isn’t Robert Covington. At least, not yet. We’re very early into the season, and a lot can change, but Covington simply doesn’t scare me right now, like he did last February. Maybe things will change when the Tigers finally return to Nashville, and maybe it has to do with the level of competition, but great players play great regardless of where, or who they’re against. Covington has been okay, but not great.
- The more things change in Cape Girardeau, the more things stay the same: The Redhawks are being haunted by inconsistent guard play. This is a repeat from last season.
- Jacksonville State isn’t a three point shooting team. We knew that. Now we know they know that as well. Despite being blowing out by Oregon, the Gamecocks shot just 13 three’s. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Gamecocks don’t overcome a single double-digit deficit once this season.
Tennessee State 68. South Alabama 57
A 13-2 run to start the game set the tone, and 18 offensive rebounds helped hold off the Jaguars as the Tigers finally get into the win column with a 68-57 win over South Alabama.
The Tigers defense suffocated the Jaguars in the first half, allowing South Alabama to shoot 27% from the field. Patrick Miller was fantastic, scoring a team-high 14 points and adding nine assists. Jay Harris got the start opposite Miller, adding 12 points in 30 minutes of play, the most he’s seen since an overtime game against Mississippi Valley State almost a full year ago.
Robert Covington pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds, but was one point short of a double-double. Covington was 0-4 from the behind the arc, and is shooting below 30% from three on the season.
The Tigers outrebounded the Jaguars by 15, thanks in part to 18 offensive rebounds.
Louisiana Tech 67, Southeast Missouri 63
A 12-0 run to start the second half proved too much for the Redhawks to overcome, as Southeast Missouri fell despite double-doubles from both starting forwards. Tyler Stone played 40 minutes, finishing with a team-high 17 points and game-high 14 rebounds while Nino Johnson added 10 and 10.
The guard play was hit-or-miss: Corey Wilford had a great game with 16 points, but Nick Neimczyk and Lucas Nutt combine to shoot 0-5 from the field. Marland Smith and A.J. Jones had decent nights with 9 points each. The problem is the consistency, or really the lack there of. If this complaint sounds familiar, it’s because I made the same one all last season. Wilford and Smith seem to be the most consistent so far this season. Neither started tonight.
Unless you’re an up tempo team, forcing turnovers isn’t necessarily a focus, but the Redhawks have been particularly deficient in this area this season, forcing just 11 a game against four Division I teams. They aren’t turning the ball over much themselves, but they’re missing out on easy points. Tonight they had 15 points on those 11 turnovers, which is a great conversion rate. (By comparison, LA Tech had just 7 points off of 15 SEMO turnovers) It something to keep an eye on.
This all sounds really negative for a four point loss, and I’ll admit it is. So here’s the positive: The Redhawks have the best frontcourt in the conference.
Jacksonville State 45, Oregon 67
You won’t win many games with 23 turnovers, and tonight is no exception to that rule. Tony Woods leads the Ducks with 17, as Oregon dominated Jacksonville State in the wire-to-wire win.
Jacksonville State controlled the tempo, despite a sloppy game on both sides. Freshman Chris Deanes scored a team-high 10 points, the only Gamecock in double-figures. Brian Williams and Ronnie Boggs especially struggled, combining to shoot 5-25 from the field.
Adding to Jacksonville State’s shooting woes: The Gamecocks finish just 4-13 from the free throw line.